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Tsarskoe Selo Parks

Pavlovsk Great Palace & Park

Although designed by Charles Cameron between 1781 and 1786, on Catherine the Great s orders for her son, the future Paul I, the interiors of Pavlovsk’s Great Palace were largely orchestrated by Paul’s second wife Maria Fyodorovna. A royal residence until 1917, the original palace was burnt down two weeks after liberation in WWII by a careless Soviet soldier’s cigarette which set off German mines (the Soviets blamed the Germans).

As at Tsarskoe Selo its restoration is remarkable.
The finest rooms are on the middle floor of the central block. Cameron designed the round Italian Hall beneath the dome and the Grecian Hall to its west, though the lovely green fluted columns were added by his assistant Vincenzo Brenna. Flanking these are two private suites designed mainly by Brenna – Paul’s along the north side of the block and Maria Fyodorovna’s on the south. The Hall of War of the insane,
military-obsessed Paul contrasts with Maria’s Hall of Peace, decorated with musical instruments and flowers.

On the middle floor of the south block are Paul’s Throne Room and the Hall of the Maltese Knights of St John, of whom he was the Grand Master.
If you skip the palace, it’s a delight simply to wander around the serene park grounds -much less crowded than those at Tsarskoe Selo – land see what you come across.

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